January 17, 2017 7:45 pm
Updated: January 17, 2017 11:18 pm

Halifax and Dartmouth ‘charmed’ by Justin Trudeau during cross-country tour

Charm and charisma are two qualities Halifax based sociology and marketing experts say Prime Minister Justin Trudeau plays to his advantage.

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Wherever Prime Minister Justin Trudeau goes, crowds of people seem to follow and that theme continued in Halifax and Dartmouth on Monday.

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“I’ve never seen such a buzz online or in person from people.  Some of my co-workers who normally have zero interest in politics said they just had to go see him,” Ed McHugh said, a marketing instructor who teaches at the Nova Scotia Community College.

His presence made a big impact on small cafes he visited in both communities ahead of the town hall session held at the Dartmouth Sportsplex that evening.

“The crowd was huge you couldn’t move through the cafe and everyone was really excited,” Catherine Brosha said, the head baker at Two If By Sea, one of the cafes the prime minister stopped in on his way to the session.

Political sociologist Howard Ramos said it’s a type of flashy popularity that hasn’t been seen in Canada since his father was at the helm.

“People often forget just how savvy his father was,” Ramos said. “Pierre Trudeau was very aware of how important it was to engage people through media and having that point of connection at a time during the ’70s when television was in its adolescence.”

Many of Pierre Trudeau’s one-liners have been forever etched in the minds of Canadians.

“The state has no business in the bedrooms of the people or just watch me,” Ramos paraphrased. The quote, “there’s no place for the state in the bedrooms of the nation,” was spoken to reporters by Canada’s 15th prime minister in 1967 when, as acting justice minister, he introduced an Omnibus bill calling for changes to the Criminal Code of Canada. The bill included the decriminalization of homosexual acts performed between two consenting adults in private.

The trademark of one-liners is one his son seems to be embracing.

READ MORE: ‘Because it’s 2015’: Trudeau’s gender-equal cabinet makes headlines around world, social media

When asked in November 2015 why it was important for him to have a gender-balanced cabinet, Justin Trudeau simply responded with, “because it’s 2015.”

It’s a natural charisma McHugh says his advisers are playing up.

“I think number one, you lead with his charm because the charm works but than you have to supplement it right away with some substance to show that you do know what you’re talking about,” McHugh said.

But McHugh cautioned that that charm won’t keep the public on his good side, if strong leadership doesn’t follow.

“Obviously relationships with the states is gong to be front and centre and that’s going to be one of the issues that’s going to define what people think of him as a long term politician and leader.”

Following the event in Dartmouth, Trudeau held town halls in Fredericton and Sherbrooke, Q.C., on Tuesday.

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